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These are the changes families in Germany need to know about in 2020

These are the changes families in Germany need to know about in 2020
Photo: DPA
Whether it’s proving that children are vaccinated against measles or higher maintenance payments for parents, here are some law changes to look out for in Germany.

Maintenance payments go up for children

Divorced or separated parents in Germany now have to pay more maintenance for their children after changes to the so-called Düsseldorfer Tabelle (Düsseldorf table), which regulates child support, came into force.

Depending on the age of the child the rates have increased by €15 to €21 per month for parents who don't live with their child.

In Germany all children are entitled to child support. If the parents live separately the parent where the child lives provides maintenance in the form of shelter and support, while the other parent has to pay cash.

This is how much children of divorced or separated parents can receive:

  • Children under the age of six should receive at least €369 (instead of the previous €354) from 2020 and from 2021 at least €378 per month from their parent.
  • Children between six and eleven years of age are entitled to €424 (instead of the previous €406) and that will rise to €434 from 2021.
  • For older children aged 12 to 17, the minimum monthly maintenance is now €497 from 2020 (an increase of €21) and that will go up to €508 from 2021.
  • The rates for older children still living at home and under the age of 25 increase only slightly: from €527 to €530 for the lowest income group. 

In 2018 and 2019 the requirement rates for children over the age of 18 remained unchanged. In contrast, the requirement rate for students who do not live with their parents will rise significantly from €735 to €860 this year.

Other payments for children

The Kinderzuschlag (children's supplement), which is intended for parents with low income who live with their children (under 25-year-olds), rose to €185 per month at the start of the  year.

And, as of January 1st, the upper income limits for the child supplement were abolished. This is intended to expand the amount of families entitled to the child supplement.

READ ALSO: Kindergeld: What you need to know about Germany's child support payments

Parents who don't wish to receive child support can also receive a tax exemption called a Kinderfreibetrag.

This year it rose by €192 per child to €5,172 for parents assessed together, otherwise to €2,486 per parent. In addition, there is a tax-free allowance for childcare and education or training needs. This amounts to €2,640. The two allowances are added together to determine the income tax deduction.

Compulsory vaccination

Measles vaccinations will become compulsorary this year. Photo: DPA

For better protection against measles, the Bundestag has passed a law making a vaccination compulsory. From March 1st, parents will have to prove that their children have been vaccinated before admitting them to daycare centres or schools.

For children who are already attending daycare or school, proof must be provided by July 31st, 2021. Fines of up to €2,500 are to be imposed for violations.

Parents can prove that their children have been vaccinated either with a special certificate, a yellow examination booklet or a medical certificate if the child has already had measles. If this does not happen, the institutions has to report this to the health authorities.

READ ALSO: What's changing in Germany throughout 2020

Day-care fees abolished

As a result of the Good Childcare Act (Gute-Kita-Gesetz) many federal states are reducing the costs for daycare facilities. From this year childcare in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is now free of charge.

Berlin became the first state to abolish pre-school fees in 2018.

READ ALSO: How each German state plans to lower childcare and Kita costs for families

More money for students

The BAföG (Germany's Federal Training Assistance Act for students at secondary schools and universities) allowance increased from €735 to €861 per month from the start of this year – more students will continue to be eligible in a bid to create more equality.

This change will not only please BAföG recipients, but also many parents who support their studying children. The recent increase in the tax-free amount, flat-rate allowance for basic needs and maximum support rate is part of the new BAföG regulations, which already resulted in students and pupils receiving more money in 2019.

From autumn 2021 when further changes are planned, 100,000 more pupils and students will be able to benefit from the state's training assistance.


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